Movie-making in San Diego began in 1898 with a short downtown street scene of a double-decker trolley. This Edison Company production was one of the first motion pictures made on the West Coast.
In 1907 a Selig Company movie crew shot scenes at the La Jolla coast for The Count of Monte Cristo, making San Diego part of the first feature film produced on the West Coast. In 1911-1912 the American Film Manufacturing Company, popularly known as the Flying A Studios, arrived in San Diego County and made over 150 movies in Lakeside and La Mesa. Allan Dwan, a true motion picture pioneer, directed all “Flying A” productions.
Other movie studios included Lubin Films Western Division, located in Coronado in 1915-16; Pollard Picture Plays, featuring their star Margarita Fischer in 1916-17; a troupe of cowboys working for the Essanay Co. was headquartered in Lakeside for three months during 1912; Ammex Studios in National City in 1912; S-L Studios was located in La Mesa during the early 1920s and later re-named Grossmont Studios; and the La Jolla Cinema League, a group of amateur filmmakers, made several movies in La Jolla between 1926 and 1928.